A keen golfer, Hibernian head coach Alan Stubbs has cited Jordan Spieth’s inconceivable Masters capitulation as he attempted to explain his own side’s worrying slump at a crucial part of the Championship season.
Defending champion Spieth allowed a five shot lead to slip in a final round that included an astonishing quadruple-bogey, leaving Englishman Danny Willett to don the green jacket on Sunday evening.
In golfing parlance, the Leith side are hacking their way round the back nine after Saturday’s painful defeat at relegated Alloa meant that Stubbs’ team have now lost five of their last seven league matches.
With Rangers clinching the title, second place is now the target and their chances of claiming a play-off semi-final berth will become a lot clearer this evening when Falkirk, who are six points clear having played two more matches, visit Easter Road.
“I watched the golf and it showed that everything comes down to making the right decisions at the right time,” said Stubbs, who himself has been left baffled by his team’s woeful run.
“It’s about having that focus and not making mistakes .The better you can do that then the less chance you have of making errors.
“I watched the best player in the world do what we all do when we play golf. It showed we are human beings and we can all make mistakes.
“Every average golfer would have felt some comfort from watching Jordan Speith duff a shot on Sunday night as it shows it can happen.
“We aren’t robots and we can’t be programmed to do everything right.”
Asked if his side were on the fairway or in the rough as things stands, a smiling Stubbs replied: “I don’t know how to respond to that one.
“The most important thing is that we’re on the green. Sometimes it’s not how you get there, the most important bit is getting there.
“Whenever you want to get back to what you’re good at, then hard work is the fundamental factor.
“If everybody is doing that then it’s amazing how quickly it falls into line.”
Stubbs’ Hibs had been riding the crest of a wave prior to this dip, having reached the League Cup-final, where they were beaten by Ross County, and maintained a genuine title charge.
With the Hibs faithful growing restless over their team’s form, Stubbs remains defiant.
He added: “The most important thing is that I know the players will turn it round, that’s the most important thing.
“When? I can’t give you that answer, I’m hoping it’s going to be on Tuesday.
“They have my belief and I have their belief. We’re in this together.
“Sometimes I question them, but in a good way.
“We all need to be kept on our toes, right now things have not gone for us but I’m in no doubt that it will turn around.
“When the chips are down you roll you’re sleeves up and you stick you chest out and you see the brave ones.
“I want to see them still get on the ball I want to see them take it in difficult situations. I know for a fact they’ll do that.”
Midfielder Fraser Fvyie, meanwhile, has dismissed talk of Hibs being in turmoil.
“If anyone’s talking about a crisis then I don’t think there’s any of that at all,” said the former Aberdeen and Wigan playmaker.
“It doesn’t really matter if you finish fourth, because you’re still in the play-offs.
“Obviously we’d like to finish in second and have two less games, and on Tuesday we’ll take a step towards that.
“You don’t expect a run like this but it’s happened. Everyone’s pulling in the one direction.
“We’ll see how Falkirk react and if they have any big-game players. I’ve not seen enough to say whether they do or they don’t.”